Monday, October 22, 2012

Fall Pictures

We had not had a family picture taken since before Charlotte was born.  It was about time!   When my friend Jenn from Jennifer Sumko Photography offered to take our family portraits, we jumped at the chance.  It was a little last minute so I was scrambling to pick out outfits at the last minute.  Charlotte also decided to grow 5 teeth at the same time.  She was not a happy girl and was very fussy.  It also started raining after about 20 minutes.  Despite all of these hurdles, Jenn took some great pictures (and photo editing) and we finally have some frame worthy family portraits.

Since we didn't have a chance to take "just kids" pictures I waited for a beautiful sunny fall day to take William and Charlotte out for my own photo shoot.  We have a big colorful tree at the church so I took them there.  Charlotte was much more comfortable and less crabby.  We had fun playing in the leaves.  Now I need to pick out some new picture frames.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Disney World

Since I was 16 and our family took an amazing trip to Disney World, I couldn't wait to go back.  The timing just seemed right.  William was old enough to really appreciate the magic of Disney and also ride the big rides.  Charlotte was a trooper and although she had a few meltdowns, she was really good for an almost 2 year old.  We also invited my dad to come to share in the magic.
 We stayed at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort.  I totally recommend it!  They took such great care of us and made sure everything was perfect from the free stuff they loaded the kids up with (balloons, buttons, stickers, etc.) to the fun activities held at the resort, like roasting marshmallows, pool parties and outdoor movies every night.  The pool was huge with a water slide, snack bar, and arcade.  We also got refillable travel mugs and were allowed to fill up with unlimited soda or hot chocolate from the resort.  Since it was one of the larger resorts, our bus stops at the different parks were pretty close and buses were frequent.
Our first day we spent at the Magic Kingdom.  William was so ready to ride Space Mountain so that is where we went first.  After he rode it once then said he didn't want to ride it again because of the sounds it made.  I think it was a little too scary.  It took a while to get used to the Fast Pass system but man, was it useful!  Whoever came up with it was a genius!  We rode Space Mountain, Peter Pan, It's a Small World, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, The Tea Cups, Goofy's Barnstormer, and Prince Charming's Carousel.  Basically any ride we could take Charlotte on.  William didn't want to ride Dumbo or Aladdin's Magic Carpets.  We had some time to kill and we were pretty tired so we saw some shows.  I had never been in the Tiki Room or the Hall of Presidents.  I thought they were great shows and better yet, they were air conditioned.  When it got dark, the light up merchandise was trotted out and William was hooked.  He brought all of his savings and spent it all on a light up balloon. We got pictures with Pluto and watched the Main Street Electrical Parade.  William loved it and waved to all the characters. I might have shed a hidden tear or two remembering how magical Disney was for me as a kid.  When we got back to the hotel, the kids went to sleep immediately and so Grandpa stayed in while Sean and I went back to Magic Kingdom for some Extra Magic Hours.  This is where only those people in Disney resorts can come and ride the rides after closing until 1am.  Sean and I got to ride Big Thunder Mountain and the Haunted Mansion again.  It was better than Fast Pass.  There was practically no one in line!  We were pretty tired so we didn't do much else, and that was okay by me!


 Our second day was spent at Epcot.  We started at one of the Innovention buildings and William learned about fire safety, storm tracking, and played on the wall of video games.  Then we went to The Seas and rode the ride with Nemo and did Turtle Talk with Crush.  Both were very cool.  Then we had lunch at The Coral Reef restaurant.  Unfortunately it took forever and we didn't have a lot of time for the rest of the park.  We went to the Spaceship Earth and Project Tomorrow, and the other Innovention building.  All very science-y and sapped the life out of me!  William and Sean really enjoyed it though and that was why I stayed.  Grandpa was pretty tired so he left early and we headed over to the World Showcase, which was the side of the park that I wanted to go.  William got a special cell phone to play the Perry the Platypus secret agent game within all of the countries.  We got through Mexico and Charlotte melted down like I had never seen.  She screamed and could not be consoled for 30 minutes straight!  I believe she was just so tired she just didn't know what to do but scream.  I didn't want to go on.  I just wanted to scream too but we just went back to the hotel instead.  Charlotte fell asleep and took a long nap while William, Grandpa and me went to the pool for some marshmallow roasting.  After getting rested up we headed back to the Magic Kingdom to watch the fireworks show we had missed the night before.
 The next day we went to Hollywood Studios.  I think this was my favorite day.  The park is small and there isn't a lot of walking and it has one of the best nighttime shows, Fantasmic.  We saw the Indiana Jones Stunt Show, Muppets 3D, rode on the Tower of Terror, The Great Movie Ride, Toy Story Mania, and Star Tours.  We also visited the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground and Animation Studios and learned to draw Perry the Platypus, and took pictures with Phineas and Ferb, and Mickey Mouse.  Grandpa left after dinner and we stayed for the fireworks.  It was a great day and we were exhausted when we finally got to bed.
 Our last park day we went to Animal Kingdom.  This place is HUGE!  There was so much walking that Grandpa only rode a couple of rides and the Kilimanjaro Safari before heading back.  We spotted Pooh and Tigger and no lines for pictures so we took advantage of that.  William and Sean rode Expedition Everest twice and loved it.  Then we went to Dinoland USA to ride the midway rides but William wasn't big enough to ride the Primeval Whirl coaster ride.  He was pretty bummed out.  We were ready to leave after a late lunch but William spotted Goofy and Pluto and wanted to take pictures.  We waited in line for about 15 minutes and were two families away from our turn when Goofy got called away indefinitely.  It was a shame because we already had pictures with Pluto.  Oh well, we took pictures anyway.  Then we went back to our rooms for naps while William and Grandpa went to the pool.  Then we had dinner at Epcot in China.  Dinner took way too long and the park was closing when we finally got out.  Oh well, I'll see the World Showcase next trip!
 Our last day was check out day and since our flight wasn't until 6:40pm, we went to Downtown Disney.  This is a large marketplace with lots of shops and Disney themed stores.  We had lunch at a sea food restaurant and William and Sean went to the Lego Imagination Center and Once Upon a Toy while Grandpa and I went to the Disney super store, Christmas store, and kitchen store.  Then it was time to catch our airport shuttle.  I didn't want to leave, but was happy to be going home.  I was jealous to see the new visitors showing up with their bags, all fresh and ready for their dream vacation to begin.  Our trip was amazing and I think we'll be back in about 3 years.  That way, it will be new again for us and Charlotte can experience it all and make memories she can keep.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Go Team Panthers!

 William's soccer team, the Panthers, had their first game tonight.  Watching 5 and 6 year olds play soccer for a whole hour was a little difficult, especially with a bored almost 2 year old.  Sean was out of town so it was up to me to lug the family to the soccer fields and pack up the camp chairs, snacks, water, my purse, my camera, toys for Charlotte, and William's soccer stuff!  In the end it was all worth it.  The Panthers did great!  They stopped keeping score when we were up 10 to 1.  William even scored a goal!  Thankfully, the weather was nice and I only had to run out on the field twice to drag Charlotte off the playing field during the game.  I think it might be Sean's turn to go to the next game.